September 08, 2011

Managing A Large Family…Toys & Books

I'll be honest.. I do not like toys. Especially cheap toys that last a few days, a week if you are lucky..  However, I do allow some toys in the house.

One of the first things I did was about 5 years ago I sent out a request for no one to buy my children toys unless they are specifically requested. We only allow certain toys here for two reasons. Organization and morals.

The "toy" rules are as follows.
1. No toys in the bedrooms
2. No broken toys allowed
3. No immodest toys or toys that teach an ideology in which we do not agree.
4. No weapons. ( we teach guns are weapons not toys and responsible ways to use guns)
5. New one in, old one out.

Our current system of toy organization is the toys are in the playroom/liitle children's schoolroom.
We have several small totes and I am looking to get new ones and I am investigating creative ideas. But the toys are sorted as follows
1. Blocks
2. Wooden Thomas tracks
3. Cars and Trains
4. Animals
5. Baby Toys
6. Army Guys
7. Mr Potato Head ( we love him :o})
Larger toys are on a shelf. Those are also kept to a minimum and most are toddler toys for the two babies

In the girls room they have their dress up clothes, and horses/ponies.

I have also purged books. We have far more books than toys. And, if I haven't already confessed, I am a recovering pack rat. And that is reflected in my book collections.

Adult book collections go in the family room on a bookshelf. Most are historical, political or religious in nature. Informational books. We don't really read novels. Older children's books are kept on a shelf in the school room closet. In the playroom I have a small collection of books and  the rest are in storage. I rotate them as needed. Same rules apply to books, ripped books go into the garbage, new ones in old ones out etc.

Is there a household management trick  you want to know about?  Send me a note using  the contact me button on the side bar. 


  1. Well, I probably don't qualify for a "large family" (although some wonder why I would ever have THREE LOL), but I've also been buying the kids passes or memberships in place of toys. $40 per kid (last year) gets them snowtubing through the winter months as many times as they want. Magazine subscriptions (like Your Big Backyard) come monthly. A family pass to the zoo can provide lots of fun stuff. And it doesn't clutter the house!

  2. Sometimes I wish I could rid the house of all toys. I think your guidelines are good. It helps to know what you believe and stick to it. I played with Barbies when I was a kid as well as Carebears and Ponies. My kids have a huge tub of ponies and they don't get played with. I could probably give them away and they wouldn't know. I am at that point I want to get rid of Barbies. I find them decapitated way too much. My son tends to join in the Barbie play frequently and I tell him no. I still have those from when I was a kid.

    Anyway, I am rambling. I am sure I could go on and on about toys. But, I want to say good job on the structuring of the play system. I have also asked that people not buy toys for my kids.

  3. I've really limited the toys around my house, as well. Even with two kids, the toys can pile up if you don't have a system and/or limitations. We only buy educational "toys" and no noisemakers. If it makes noise and doesn't have a volume control and an off switch, it is not allowed in this house. I don't like noise and I don't like clutter. Limiting toys and banning noisemakers has worked very well for us.


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